A close up on a Chromebook focusing on the Chrome logo

Chromebook Powerwash – What is it and how to perform one

Whilst Chromebooks are built to be easy to use, you may still encounter the occasional issue that you will struggle to fix. Performing a Powerwash on your Chromebook can help you fix them.

What is a Powerwash?

Powerwash is a feature in Chrome OS that you can use to return the Chromebook to its original condition. This is often called a factory reset.

This means that all your settings and data will be erased, returning the Chromebook back to how it was the day you got it. It is the easiest way of resetting your Chromebook.

When should you Powerwash a Chromebook?

There are usually only a few instances when you’ll need to Powerwash your Chromebook:

  1. Selling it
  2. Returning it
  3. Trying to fix an operating system issue
  4. Sending for repairs by manufacturer

What you need to know before you Powerwash a Chromebook

The main thing you need to be aware of is that a Powerwash will wipe the device in it’s entirety. Everything will go: files, photos, accounts, everything!

Therefore it is essential that you back up anything you have stored locally. If you don’t, you won’t be able to get them back. You’ll usually find these files in your ‘Downloads’ folder.

Steps to try before starting a Chromebook Powerwash

Turn off extensions

Extensions can often cause issues with your Chromebook. Turn them off one by one and test if your Chromebook is working again.

Make sure it’s necessary

It isn’t always necessary to Powerwash your Chromebook. You may need to reset your device if you:

  • See the ‘Reset this Chrome device’ message
  • Are experiencing problems with your user profile or settings
  • Have restarted your Chromebook and it still isn’t working as expected
  • Need to change the owner of the Chromebook

How to Factory Reset a Chromebook using Powerwash


Time needed: 10 minutes

Follow these instructions to perform a factory reset of your Chromebook device.

  1. Sign out of your Chromebook

  2. Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R

  3. Choose Restart

  4. In the menu that appears select Powerwash

  5. Follow the steps that appear on-screen

  6. Sign in with your Google account when prompted

    Note: This account will the the Chromebook ‘owner’

  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the Chromebook

  8. Check to see if your problem is fixed

A Samsung Chromebook
A Samsung Chromebook

How to Powerwash using Google Chrome


Follow these instructions to perform a factory reset of your Chromebook device using the Google Chrome browser.

  1. On your Chromebook, open Google Chrome.
  2. In the top right of Chrome, click on the three vertical dots.
  3. In this menu click on Settings.
  4. Scroll all the way down the Settings menu and clock on Advanced.
  5. Within the newly revealed options, find Reset Settings.
  6. Click on Powerwash.
  7. On the dialog box, select Restart.
  8. Once completed sign in with your Google account once prompted.
  9. All done!


How to restart Chromebook with keyboard?

On the Chromebook’s keyboard find the power button. Hold this for 3 seconds. This will save your session and safely shutdown your Chromebook. You can then press the power button again to turn it back on.

Does Powerwash delete everything?

Yes. A Powerwash removes all files, data and user settings. It returns it to its original factory settings.

Can you Powerwash a Chromebook without a password?

It is possible to do this without a password. Follow the “How to Factory Reset a Chromebook using Powerwash” guide above.